Alfred Charles Banks

Date of birth: 1881
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Fireman
Service: Mercantile Marine Reserve
Vessel: HMY Aegusa
Died: 27th April 1916 aged 35 years
Death location: At sea


Life before the War
Alfred was the eldest of 6 children born to Alfred Charles and Sarah Anne Banks, nee Andrews.  Alfred senior was born in Portsmouth in 1861 and Sarah was born in Stockbridge in 1859.  They married in 1880, evidence of which has been gleaned from census returns.

Alfred’s 5 siblings – 1 sister and 4 brothers – were:

Edwin   b.1884 Southampton.  Married Violet A Beames in Portsmouth in 1934.

Martha   b.1885 Southampton and d.1946 Winchester.  Married George Adams in Southampton in 1906.

George Henry   b.1889 Southampton and died 27th April 1916.  Married Elizabeth B Hallet in Southampton in 1913.
War casualty.  Please select George’s name to read his story.

Henry   b.1891 Southampton.  Married Daisy D Stillman in Southampton in 1919.

Percy Harold   b.1895 Southampton and d.1951 Southampton.   Married Grace L Biddlecombe in Southampton in 1932.

Alfred married Louisa Lee in Southampton in 1905 and they made their home at 36 Dock Street, St Mary’s.  They had 2 children:

William   b.1908 Southampton.

Elsie May   b.1911 Southampton and d.1984 Southampton.  Married Albert W Paul in Southampton in 1937.  Married Leslie A Saunders in Southampton in 1974.


War Service
The schooner Aegusa was built in 1896 and was subsequently purchased by Sir Thomas Lipton for use as a tender for his racing yachts; he renamed it Erin.

When war was declared the vessel was used by the Red Cross to ferry doctors to France and Salonika.

On 3 July 1915 Erin was requisitioned by the Royal Navy.  Because there was already an HMS Erin the vessel was renamed Aegusa.

She was primarily to be used as an Auxilliary Patrol Vessel in the Meditteranean, and to be crewed by Specially Entered Mercantile personnel who were serving under Admiralty Agreements.

Aegusa perished on the night of 27th April 1916 in the mouth of Valetta harbour in Malta.  Two British warships had already struck mines laid by U-73 earlier in the day, with subsequent loss of life.  Aegusa was attempting to pick up survivors when she struck a mine, with the loss of 6 crew.  The dead included Alfred and his brother George.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 28th June 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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